Tom Butts /
05.29.2012 10:55 AM
Networks, Dish Sue Each Other Over Hopper
Three out of the four major broadcast networks filed lawsuits against Dish Network and its Hopper DVR
ENGLEWOOD, COLO: As expected, three out of the four major broadcast networks filed lawsuits against Dish Network and its Hopper DVR that allows viewers to automatically skip TV ads. Hopper includes an “Auto Hop” feature that edits out commercial breaks for those subscribing to Dish’s Primetime Anywhere service that provides on-demand programming from the four major broadcast networks.

CBS, Fox and NBC all filed separate lawsuits against Dish, seeking to stop the service, and claiming that Autohop violates copyrights as well as Dish’s contractual obligations to the networks. They also claim that the service could threaten the financial viability of program creation. 


“Advertising generates the revenue that makes it possible for local broadcast stations and national broadcast networks to pay for the creation of the news, sports and entertainment programming that are the hallmark of American broadcasting,” said NBCUniversal in its lawsuit filed on behalf of NBC Studios, Universal Network Television, Open 4 Business Productions and NBC Universal Media. “Dish simply does not have the authority to tamper with the ads from broadcast replays on a wholesale basis for its own economic and commercial advantage.”

In its lawsuit, Fox accused Dish of “stealing” its broadcast programming and creating a “bootleg” video on demand service. “Dish is undermining legitimate consumer choice by undercutting authorized on-demand services and by offering a service that, it not enjoined, will ultimately destroy the advertising support ecosystem that provides consumers with the choice to enjoy free over the air, varied, high-quality primetime broadcast programming,” the network said. Fox is asking for compensatory and statutory damages, costs and attorney's fees.

CBS, in a statement said that the “service takes existing network content and modifies it in a manner that is unauthorized and illegal. We believe this is a clear violation of copyright law and we intend to stop it.”

In response, Dish network filed a countersuit against the networks, noting that broadcasters already take in “billions” in retrans fees and acknowledging that Hopper is just a new way for consumers to avoid commercials, something they have been doing since the invention of the remote control.

“The lawsuits filed by the networks essentially argue that ‘consumers must watch commercials,” Dish said. “We find that proposition absurd and profoundly anti-consumer.”

DC-based Public Knowledge, which lobbies for consumers rights, specifically called Fox’s lawsuit “a frontal assault on home recording and fair use.” 

“Ordinary consumers are in its crosshairs,” the organization said, “while Fox demands technological stagnation from innovators.


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1.
Posted by: Anonymous
Wed, 49-30-2012 12:49 AM Report Comment
Go Dish. What's the difference if it hops commercials or I push a button on the remote to skip commercials. End result = I don't watch commercials.
2.
Posted by: Anonymous
Fri, 08-01-2012 10:08 AM Report Comment
Well, Anonymous, that isn't really the end result. End result is, the TV shows you like to watch don't get made anymore. Go Dish! What does Dish produce or what programming do they buy? Enjoy your commercial free TV while you can. The endless parade of unwatchable, cheap to produce crap that has already taken over 90% of television will, soon enough, take over what is left. Go Dish! Bite that hand!
3.
Posted by: Anonymous
Fri, 08-01-2012 10:08 AM Report Comment
Well, Anonymous, that isn't really the end result. End result is, the TV shows you like to watch don't get made anymore. Go Dish! What does Dish produce or what programming do they buy? Enjoy your commercial free TV while you can. The endless parade of unwatchable, cheap to produce crap that has already taken over 90% of television will, soon enough, take over what is left. Go Dish! Bite that hand!
4.
Posted by: Anonymous
Fri, 01-01-2012 05:01 PM Report Comment
The difference is that enough people aren't like you. Enough people watch commercials to make TV a viable business. Take that away and -- oops -- you don't get any new TV shows. And we all hit the unemployment office. It'll go the way of the GM adds on FlopBook.
5.
Posted by: Anonymous
Tue, 17-05-2012 07:17 PM Report Comment
I think commercial distractions on television should be like ads on the web. Pay to make them go away. If I'm paying over $100 a month to be entertained for a few hours each night, then why should 1/3 of my time be wasted watching irrelevant advertisements. If the excuse is to pay for a service that I've already paid for, then I don't accept that excuse. Besides, Dish isn't doing anything that it wasn't already doing. Allowing customers to save shows to the DVR, and then jump over commercials. They just made it less of a hassle and more automatic. Dish, FTW. If common sense wins, Dish will win the lawsuits. If the bottom line wins, then the networks win.




Thursday 10:05 AM
NAB Requests Expedited Review of Spectrum Auction Lawsuit
“Broadcasters assigned to new channels following the auction could be forced to accept reductions in their coverage area and population served, with no practical remedy.” ~NAB


 
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